Art Feature: Cult Classics

Art Feature: Cult Classics

Art by Ricardo Reis
Feature by Rob Carroll

Discovering the art of Ricardo Reis was similar to the thrill I used to get as a kid when gawking at all the amazing VHS box art that lined the shelves of the local video rental store, or while flipping through the discounted back issues of yellowing comic books at my favorite comic shop.

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Ricardo is inspired by music, comics, movies, and science fiction, which is definitely how it captures my own sense of nostalgia, but he’s also inspired and very passionate about motor racing, rock music, and machines. “I really like the beauty—the speed and dynamism—of a machine at work,” he says. I look to his illustration, Hit & Run, and think immediately of Death Race 2000, and how I watched the censored TV version with awestruck mouth agape.

When creating his illustrations, Ricardo first does all the sketching and textures by hand, and then later assembles the hand-drawn elements on the computer. This technique is most obvious in Temple Ruins and Psycho Zombie, in which hand-sketched subjects and foregrounds are laid over a gradient background created with a digital art program. But this technique is having the most fun on pieces like Hit & Run and Dead Mariachi, where graphic elements are layered atop the illustrations to create a cult-classic movie poster effect, which makes sense, considering Ricardo is also inspired by exploitation films and the B-movie boom that birthed classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Mad Max, and the aforementioned Death Race 2000.

“My work is full of constantly evolving color and movement,” Ricardo says. And much like the movies he’s inspired by, he doesn’t just want to entertain the viewer with his high-intensity images, he wants to transport them. “I want the viewer to experience a different reality—a different universe—though my work.”

What kind of trip does Ricardo want to take viewers on next?

“I want to explore the 1970s. I want to bring ’70s science fiction and psychedelia to my work. I also want to incorporate more graphic design elements, but I never want to forget my main inspirations.”


Copyright © 2023 Ricardo Reis

The Artist

Ricardo Reis